Een middeleeuwste stad, waarbij je je in het Italiaanse Toscane waant. Maar je bent in Mexico, tussen Puebla en Mexico Stad. Val’Quierico werd gebouwd in 2015, is nog altijd in ontwikkeling, dus letterlijk middeleeuws kun je het niet noemen. Nee, deze stad is volledig (na)gebouwd naar Toscaans voorbeeld. Inclusief de smalle doorgangetjes, de pleintjes en de onlogische bochtjes. Dit is een echt vastgoedproject, waar commercie, wonen en toerisme samenkomen. De bouwers van Val’Quierico hebben goed gekeken naar Toscane, of naar Mediterraan Europa, en zijn er in zekere zin ook in geslaagd om die authentieke sfeer naar deze nieuwe stad te brengen.
Het helpt natuurlijk niet dat ze nog volop aan het bouwen zijn, maar dat is niet het ergste. Je bevindt je écht in een attractiepark en voelbaar niet in een middeleeuws stadje. Je moet ervan houden; ik doe dat niet zozeer. Maar de Mexicaanse toerist smult ervan.
Hoe bereik je Val’Quirico
Whether you go from Puebla to Mexico or the other way around: take exit Xoxtla, follow the signs and you will arrive in Val’Quirico within fifteen minutes. You park your car in the gigantic parking lot, pay 50 pesos for this and you follow the crowd. Entry to the village is free. You will soon be on one of the many squares of the village. A band plays in the village square, as is plenty of entertainment on offer everywhere. There are tours going to Val’Quirico, especially from Puebla. I’ve found this one, in combination with Hacienda de Chautla, which is wonderful. Of course, you can go on your own in a rental car. There is no public transport to Val’Quirico.
Restaurants, shopping and entertainment
The more than twenty restaurants easily attract everyone inside or to their terrace. They all have their own kitchen; from Africa to Italian of course. From paella to tacos. And in the meantime, you walk over the heads, because Val’Quirico is extremely popular. What will you find here?
- 21 restaurants
- 35 fashion and craft stores
- 21 lifestyle stores
- 5 bars
- 9 cafeterias
- 4 hotels
- 5 galleries
- 2 playgrounds
How does it look like?
There are (almost) no people living in the tourist area. The buildings are there for shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Young men cycle tourists from place to place and show them around.
There are a few hotels where you can spend the night and just outside the tourist area are houses, also in this style. Val’Quierico was built around and near the remains of Santa Agueda hacienda, from ancient times. All the alleys are paved, the houses built of wood and stones, to give it a romantic atmosphere. It is not wheelchair-friendly in that respect, just as it is not advisable to walk here in high heels.
And that atmosphere works wonderfully: the buildings have been successful, the streets are beautiful, the passageways romantic and the lighting tasteful.
But everything breathes one thing: tourism. 0 history. No “real” life. You almost long for the street vendors of Mexico City, because here everyone is busy with one thing: shooting the perfect pictures. Like being in Amsterdam or Venice. And that makes it implausible for Val’Quirico because the project is of course far from those kinds of cities.
An amusement park
According to the developers, Val’Quierico combines the best of Mexico with the best of Europe. Perhaps they are right: the town is extremely popular, partly thanks to moneylenders/sponsors such as the Belgian brewer Stella Artois and Bose.
When we go home around four in the afternoon, we drive into a traffic jam. It has been busy all day and that is actually the reason for us to leave again. In the evening it is apparently overcrowded with tourists. Street theatre, music, atmospheric lighting, bulging restaurants, and plenty of liveliness: the masses are always right, so the Val’Quierico project is a very successful one in that regard.
A visit to Val’Quierico is therefore certainly not advisable, but there is a good chance that it will be a one-off.